Ottawa, January 31, 2012 – Monday’s announcement by Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (CIC), that skilled tradespeople wishing to immigrate to Canada will be considered more favourably is good news for employers who cannot find candidates with the required skills for thousands of available positions.
Canada’s advanced skills shortage results from an aging population, technological innovation necessitating higher qualifications, and the simple fact that far too many marginalized Aboriginal people, disabled persons, newcomers, disaffected young men and others lack the skills needed for employment in our growth sectors. Even with immigration, the labour force will contract as millions of baby boomers retire unless we launch a pan-Canadian all-out effort to give these populations the tools they need for success.
“The economic downturn temporarily alleviated the pressure, but employers now report renewed challenges recruiting personnel with the advanced skills needed for productivity and growth. More than 70 percent of new jobs now require post-secondary credentials. Despite high unemployment, especially among young people, countless positions are unfilled”, said James Knight, President and CEO of ACCC.
“We understand the dilemma the Government faces with a recovering economy that needs support now, and a large population struggling with unemployment and inadequate education. We commend Minister Kenney for addressing the urgent need for advanced skills to support our recovery, and for easing the way for those from afar who are prepared to contribute to our economy now. We welcomed his comments and look forward to exploring solutions.”
Canada’s colleges and institutes are the advanced skills educators of choice, but they already operate at capacity and are not able to educate the 100,000 new mine technicians required by 2020, the 150,000 construction specialists to replace those who will retire by 2015, the welders who are urgently needed in many areas, the nurses and other healthcare professionals who are in short supply everywhere, and the service personnel needed for the retail and hospitality industries. Within ten years, 1.5 million positions will be vacant unless a broad-based plan is developed soon.
The Presidents of Canada’s colleges and institutes will convene in Ottawa this week for ACCC on Parliament Hill. They will engage with ministers, committee chairs, opposition critics and senior officials to share ideas on these and other matters critical to Canada’s growth and standard of living.
ACCC is the national voice for 150 publicly-funded colleges and institutes with campuses in 1,000 communities, serving 1,500,000 full- and part-time learners. Ninety percent of their students are employed within six months of graduation.
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